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Inverter Drive Systems Ltd

IDS are ABB Inverter specialists. We specify, install, commission, repair, service and hire variable speed drives.

IDS Celebrates 25 Years in Business a timeline of notable achievements over the last 25 years, detailed in the blog

IDS Celebrates 25 Years in Business

As we celebrate a quarter of a century in business, there has never been a better excuse to appreciate just how far we have come.

In this commemorative article we look back at how IDS started, our notable achievements and celebrate the people that have made it all possible.

1924 – Blaise’s grandfather, Arthur Ford set up a business to connect Nottinghamshire villages to the new grid. He met a man called Wilson who had the Butlin’s dodgem car motor repair contract – they set up Wilson Ford Ltd.

1991 – Blaise took over the management of Wilson Ford. Throughout the 90s the Wilson Ford Group grew to a turnover of £15 million.

1994 – The Nottinghamshire Coal Mines closed – Wilson Ford needed to find new markets; so Blaise discussed this with Dr Keith Bradley at Nottingham University who suggested inverters.

1994 –  Wilson Ford became an ABB inverter drive distributor.

1999 – Blaise left Wilson Ford to become MD of FSE and set up Inverter Drive Systems Ltd. Using the existing relationship with ABB to distribute ABB Inverters. He was joined by colleagues from Wilson Ford: Zac Dorn, Andrew White, Marl Elston, Mick Bales and Margaret Jones and Jill Nightingale joined the team from FSE. All of whom, bar Zac, remain at IDS to this day. Zac moved to Severn Trent and remains a close friend to the business.

2004 – Inverter Drive Systems Ltd, became ABB’s Drives Alliance partner (highest level of distributor).

2008 – IDS develop an algorithm to control pumps in parallel utilising the ABB ACS550, which revolutionised the water industries use of the technology. These days a similar technology is built-in to ABB ACQ range of inverters.

2009 – Blaise bought out Co-founders Campbell Walters & Graham Aitken, to do so Blaise gave the bank the deeds for his house.

2010 – IDS moved to their new premises in Ilkeston Derbyshire at the end of 2010.

2011 – ABB officially open the new premises https://www.inverterdrivesystems.com/ids-open-new-premises-in-derbyshire

2013 – IDS won two Water Industry Achievement Awards – Most Innovative Use of an Existing Technology & WIAA Outstanding Innovation.

2016 – IDS develop the Reactive Pump Controller (RPC) achieving huge savings for wastewater companies.

2017 – IDS are the first to prove Inverter energy savings when applied to Archimedean Screws https://www.inverterdrivesystems.com/who-says-inverters-dont-save-energy-on-archimedes-screws

2018 – IDS develops Delta-P for customer Smurfit Kappa https://www.inverterdrivesystems.com/duct-velocity-control-for-extract-fans-delta-p

2021 – IDS, working with MEICA team at Yorkshire and Humber Drainage Boards, develop a solution utilising inverter technology for Weedscreen Cleaners

2023 – Blaise resigns as MD and becomes semi-retired, he retains an interest in the business acts as a part time technical consultant.

2023 – IDS achieve their biggest turn over to date!

2023 – Matt Handley joins the business as General Manager quickly receiving a promotion to Director of Operations. https://www.inverterdrivesystems.com/ids-welcomes-matt-handley-as-new-general-manager

2024 – IDS continues to grow and thrive, saving customers large amounts of energy, improving process control and utilising inverter technology to provide innovative solutions. Customers over the years have included Boots, Severn Trent, McDonald’s, Anglian Water, UK Coal, British Sugar, British Steel, Smurfit Kappa, Tarmac, Bedford Hospital, Landrover and many, many more

IDS Celebrates 25 Years in Business

Speaking to Blaise about IDS’ history he says: “I have really enjoyed it; it feels like I have been paid to do my hobby. The business has never made a loss and we have always been in the top 3 ABB distributors in the UK. The people at IDS have really been exceptional, you would be hard pressed to find better. And of course, without ABB, none of it would have been possible, the partnership with ABB and the support we have received over the years coupled with products that are second to none have made all the difference. We have been lucky to have worked with some truly magnificent businesses over the years, from wood yards to hospitals, water companies to leisure centres, food manufacturers to quarries and mines. The list of people to thank for the last 25 years is vast! I really do feel very lucky, but of course the most important person to thank for our success is my wife, Jane. I worked, probably way too much especially when our children were little and she always managed our home life tremendously well, that is who I owe the success of IDS to.”

New Leadership

As we enter into our 25th year, the job of taking the company forward falls to Matt Handley, our Director of Operations. Matt says:

“Blaise has built a business with a fantastic reputation, which has attracted an amazing bank of loyal and key customers. As we move the business forward, we look forward to working closely with our new and existing customers, offering more of the ABB portfolio and continuing the tradition of innovation and exceptional customer service. As a business our ethos remains the same as it has always been, we will continue to give back to our community and continue to seek progress within the industry. With our passion for sustainability, we hope to leave the world a better place for the next generation.”


IDS would like to thank our partners at ABB, our incredible team, and our customers who have always been open to exploring energy saving and process control with inverters. Here’s to the next 25 years of innovation and sustainability.

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